Tag Archives: youth

MindEd: free e-learning about kids mental health

logoThe new MindEd website is a free e-learning resource to help adults to identify and understand children and young people with mental health issues. It is aimed at everyone with a duty of care for children and young people, and already offers over 100 short e-learning sessions, with more to follow.

MindEd is completely free to use, with no registration required, although if you do sign up as a MindEd member (free) and complete several sessions, you can record your studying on your personal page and print it as a certificate for your learning record.

I tried five different Autism sessions from within MindEd’s curricula, ranging from introductory sessions aimed at a universal audience, through to a more specialised session. Each is between 20-30 minutes long, and is complete with learning objectives, interesting interactive tasks, case studies, short video clips with transcripts, and self-assessments that help you check what you have learnt. The sessions are colourful and attractive, and the references provided are up-to-date.

MindEd claims to be suitable for use on tablets, phones or computers, so I tried it on a contemporary Android smartphone, as well as a desktop computer. MindEd did not display well on the phone, and cannot be downloaded for offline use, so, for example, it might be difficult to use during commuting journeys.

Another characteristic to bear in mind is that there is no social dimension to MindEd – there are no student forums in which to debate the topics, which are a typical component of MOOCs such as Clinical Psychology of Children and Young People on Coursera or Foundations of Psychology on Open2Study. Perhaps MindEd is better thought of as an interactive reference library that you dip into when needed.

I am very impressed that this project has been created by a consortium of more than seven organisations, and can imagine the amount of work that it has taken. I’d encourage you to explore it – currently MindEd is available to anyone, wherever you are, although eventually users outside the UK may need to buy a licence to access the website. I’ll be very interested to hear your feedback and comments, as I am sure that I have only scratched the surface of this huge resource.

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Free textbooks by The National Academies Press

The NAP in Washington publish more than 200 books a year on a wide range of topics, resulting in a catalogue of more than 4,000 titles in PDF format which can be downloaded for free by the chapter or the entire book. The NAP catalogue includes 98 books on Children, Youth and Families. Here are four books from the catalogue:

cover4.phpSnow C.E, and Van Hemel, S.B, (2008): Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What, and How
This book affirms that assessments can make crucial contributions to the improvement of children’s well-being, but only if they are well designed, implemented effectively, developed in the context of systematic planning, and are interpreted and used appropriately. Otherwise, assessment of children and programs can have negative consequences, especially children from economically disadvantaged homes and communities and children with special needs.

cover3.phpBoat, T and Warner, K.E, (2009): Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities  
Mental health and substance use disorders among children, youth, and young adults are major threats to the health and well-being of younger populations which often carry-over into adulthood. This book argues that greater effort is needed to prevent mental, emotional, and behavioural problems in young people, and highlights research which shows that many prevention programs work.

cover2.phpEngland, M.J, and Sim, L.J, (2009): Depression in Parents, Parenting, and Children: Opportunities to Improve Identification, Treatment, and Prevention
Health and social service professionals who care for adults with depression should not only tackle their clients’ physical and mental health, but also detect and prevent possible spillover effects on their children. In making this case, this book highlights disparities in the prevalence, identification, treatment, and prevention of parental depression among different socio-demographic populations. It also outlines strategies for effective intervention and identifies the need for a more interdisciplinary approach that takes biological, psychological, behavioural, interpersonal, and social contexts into consideration.

cover.phpPetersen, A, Joseph, J and Feit, M,(2013): New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research 
This book from the Institute of Medicine reports that rates of physical and sexual abuse of children have declined over the last 20 years, but for reasons not fully understood. Yet, reports of psychological and emotional child abuse have risen in the same period, and data vary significantly as to whether child neglect is increasing, decreasing, or remaining constant.

These textbooks from The National Academies Press are of particular interest to students, academics and policy makers. The hard-cover versions cost in the region of $50-$60 each, so we are very fortunate to be able to download the PDF versions for free. I encourage academics and faculty to choose NAP and other free titles for their courses whenever possible, which saves students lots of money. 

Elsewhere on my blog, there is a separate page which lists other free textbooks of interest.

200 free childcare & youth podcasts

 Load up your mp3 player or phone with some of these podcasts for those long journeys. The top five podcasters below are easy to use; each allows you to download individual episodes or subscribe via iTunes, and most organise episodes within categories.

Social Work Podcast logo

(1) The monthly Social Work Podcast is hosted by  Jonathan Stringer. About 1-in-5 are about children & youth topics, and there is an archive of 87 episodes available, each between 30 mins – 1 hour long. Although the intended audience is social workers, these are equally useful to anyone in a helping profession, including psychology, nursing, psychiatry, counselling and education. With each podcast being accompanied by a transcript, references and citation, they are particularly valuable to students.
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(2) Another monthly is the National CASA Podcast aimed at CASA’s volunteer advocates for abused and neglected children in the USA. There is an archive of 93 episodes dating back to 2008, each about 10-30 mins long.

insocialwork_banner2(3) The inSocialWork Podcast Series by University at Buffalo, New York broadcasts fortnightly, with each episode being between 20-40 mins long. There is an archive of 123 episodes in total, of which about 1-in-6  are about children & youth topics.  Many of these podcasts are accompanied by reviews, often by students.
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(4) The Inclusion Matters’ series by the Center for Inclusive Child Care, Concordia University in Minnesota. These are broadcast approximately monthly, with an archive of 59 episodes. As these are typically only 10 mins long, they are particularly quick to download.

(5) Prevent Child Abuse, New Jersey. Sadly not updated since 2011, but their archive of 33 episodes is still available, each about 10-30 mins long.

Finally, you might wonder why UNICEF is not included above? UNICEF’s global radio service reports on the health, education, equality and protection of children around the world. 300 episodes have been broadcast since 2007, but currently they are only available via iTunes – an arrangement that excludes many potential listeners and consequently cannot be recommended.